Ghosts, Spirits, & Hauntings, Edited by Michael Pye and Kirsten
Dalley (Softcover, 2011)|
Loyd Auerbach (Contributor), Joshua P. Warren
(Contributor), Andrew Nichols (Contributor), Bob Curran (Contributor), Nick
Redfern (Contributor), Raymond Buckland (Contributor), Ursula Bielski
(Contributor), Marie D. Jones (Contributor), Larry Flaxman (Contributor),
Michael Tymn (Contributor), Micah Hanks (Contributor)
(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you
want a hardcopy)
Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.
I don't take ghosts, spirits, and the like seriously, but I found this book
to be an interesting read anyhow. I think the fact that it's a compilation of
various essays and viewpoints from eight authors keeps it interesting rather
than being a tedious foray into the realm of supposition and superstition.
Some of the contributors presented some "debunking" information on some of
the popular theories regarding certain events or certain aspects of this topic.
That helped balance out the general tone of "we know ghosts are real."
As someone with a keen interest in physics, I'm annoyed by false attributions
to physics as if these distortions are fact proving the point being made. I
liked Loyd Auerbach's comments on this particular problem. He gives the
impression he wants researchers into the paranormal to just stick with their
actual observations and not try to gild the lily. More than one author seemed to
have out a gold paint can, though. This isn't all bad, as it gives you a glimpse
into the various viewpoints and how people try to support those.
Does the book affirm that ghosts are real? Perhaps some authors intended that
to happen, but I am not convinced. If ghosts are real, why would they be human
only? Suppose the answer is that all animals have ghosts. It's implausible that
all the creatures who've died over the past 500 million (or however many) years
are still around as spirits or some form of energy. While this may explain the
Loch Ness Monster, there's far too much running counter to it. For example,
given the time scale the sheer numbers make it an unlikely reality at best.
If we say that only humans have ghosts, do the math again. The number of
ghosts would still be overwhelming. They would outnumber living humans on a
ratio of about 20:1, if we also assume ghosts are permanent. An "Achilles Heel"
problem with all of the ghost-related beliefs is they require an ever-adjusting
set of assumptions the more you examine them under logic. So why do people
continue to believe in ghosts, spirits, and the like?
One reason people hold on to these notions is sometimes counterarguments to
specific cases don't hold up. So people go back to the only explanation they
have. But the lack of valid counterarguments is not proof of an argument.
Between the debunkers (prove it wrong) and the explanation-seekers (find the
truth), quite a few people are drawn to research these various phenomena.
Many of the "researchers" are not trained or competent in research
methodologies, and (according to Auerbach) some have "protocols" that are
basically rules for being rude to those with competing theories. Studying their
views is fairly much a study in human psychology.
But then there are the researchers who are trying to dig through the
mysteries to figure out what's really going on. That's the part I find
fascinating, partly because conclusive answers seem so elusive.
This book contains 10 essays in 203 pages. Most of the essays have reference
bibliographies. The book is indexed, and also includes a short biography on each
of the eight authors (10 pages).